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Food literacy in Germany

AOK study data analysed in depth

Healthy nutrition is not least a question of one’s food literacy. Food literacy is referred to as the combination of nutritional knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge, experience and practical skills in everyday nutrition in a health-promoting manner. Given a lack of current data on food literacy at a national level, the AOK Federal Association carried out a study on the food literacy of the adult population in Germany at the beginning of 2020.

The study was designed to be representative in terms of age, sex, income and education level. Using a questionnaire, food literacy was checked along eight thematic areas covering aspects such as meal planning, choice of food stocks and health-minded housekeeping.

On request from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the MRI analysed the study data more in depth with a two-fold aim. One was to decipher the key sociodemographic determinants of food literacy, such as sex, age and education level. The other was to assess the food literacy of specific population groups in the eight thematic areas.

The in-depth analysis reveals: a higher social status (computed as a combination of income and education level) is associated with a higher food literacy. If, instead, income and education level are treated as separate variables, then sex is most strongly associated with food literacy, followed by education (school and professional), and age. The socio-demographic groups displaying the highest food literacy overall also perform best in almost all of the eight thematic areas.

Further information (in German only):

Ergebnisbericht "Ernährungskompetenz in Deutschland ‒ vertiefende Auswertungen" (pdf)